Once upon a time Flipkart was an unknown website, selling books to grad students across India. You could see that the design was bare minimum since the site has a logo in comic sans – much to the horror of all those snooty web-designers. Then one fine day all of that changed, much like Cinderella before the ball, Flipkart’s logo became snazzier, the ugly orange was gone, the shame of comic sans forgotten as the site became one of the biggest players in India’s online retail market.

Comparisons with the American giant, Amazon have become inevitable (also given the ownership) – an obvious indicator that the Indian website had arrived. Amazon has of course been planning to enter the Indian market and it did so this year by launching its Indian version, Junglee.com

Flipkart in recent months has started expanding the number of products it sells- from books it has moved to mobiles, motherboards, and other products. Just last month reports came of Flipkart buying out rival online retail firm LetsBuy.com.Now anexclusivenews report from Plugged.inreveals that the website is planning to launch a music service, much on the lines of Amazon, which allow users to download mp3 songs for as low as Rs 10.

Screengrab from Website

The report says,

Flipkart’s music service (result of acquisition of a Mumbai based startup,Mime360 andbollywood catalogue from Chakpak) will go live this month. The music service will be called Flyte (as spotted byWoikr) and the service will enable users to download legal mp3s files, which will be DRM free and device agnostic.

TheNextWebcommented on this latestacquisition asking whether Flyte could be the new iTunes, store in India.

The service will sell DRM free music, in the same way that Amazon does, with each user permitted to download a tune five times after purchasing it.Flyte will include single track downloads….The service will have a massive advantage over iTunes and other international music stores … In addition to more local payment options, and a device agnostic approach, Flyte could boast asizablecatalogueof Indian music.

So what exactly is Mime360? The online media platform ensures that digital content gets distributed globally, in a more “secure, transparent, cost effective way,” aka ensuring that piracy is controlled. Mime360 has Universal Music, SaReGaMa Music, Indiatimes as some of its partners.

So effectively in Flipkart’s new music venture one will have access to music without worrying about digital rights management. Basically you can play it on any device without worrying about content rights.

Now in India at some point we’ve all downloaded music, television shows, movies, illegally. Flipkart’s latest offer of mp3’s at Rs 10 might sound like a good deal, and a good attempt to prevent piracy online.

But will this be low enough? Remember Flipkart is really competing against the ‘free’ market. And for that user, even Rs 10 might be a hard bill to swallow.

Publish date: February 23, 2012 3:47 pm| Modified date: February 23, 2012 3:47 pm

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